The past couple of months have been a challenge. On top of my normal teaching responsibilities at the Theological Institute and the Center for Biblical Formation, I’ve been preaching and teaching weekly at one of the local Baptist churches. Preparing four lessons and one sermon every week, in Spanish, has been a challenge. At times I’m not sure how I can keep up, but somehow, through the help of some very good resources and a very faithful God, I’ve been able to keep up with the demands.
More than a challenge, however, this time has been a blessing. I love teaching and preaching. It’s something that brings me life and energy. The time spent in preparation, even though it is twice what is normal since I’m doing it in another language, is well worth it because I learn and grow from what I am studying and preparing.
But more than what it brings to me, there is another reason that this work is worth it.
There is one gentleman at church who, for me, makes all the effort worthwhile. After almost every Sunday School class, Thursday night Bible study, or Sunday evening worship service, he approaches me to say something like this: “I’m always learning something new,” or, “I finally understood that today,” or, “It’s all starting to make sense.”
You see, he’s a new believer. He was baptized in the church just before I got here, and his desire to learn, and to put his new knowledge into practice, is contagious. He’s constantly wanting to talk for a few minutes after lessons to understand better a certain point, or to ask a question he has from his own study, or a question that a non-believing friend asked him about his newly found faith.
People like this make all the work worth it. Their eagerness to learn and share their new findings is uplifting, and if, through me, God can teach, build up, and empower just one person, all the hard work is worthwhile.